Man O War Cay

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Central America Caribbean » Bahamas
November 25th 2005
Published: October 1st 2017
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Geo: 26.2103, -76.9535

We are on our last day of our sailing trip to the Bahamas. Believe it or not, I am sitting in the cockpit of the sailboat at Man o' War Cay in the Abacos, eating breakfast and "doing email." I confess that the joy of being able to do email and scan the internet while on holiday has not yet become commonplace. This is the life, really.

Man o' War cay is a very interesting and boring place, simultaneously. There is a village here, of several hundred people, mostly descendants of Puritans and loyalists fleeing the American revolution. They mostly have the last name of Albury, as far as we can tell. We passed through here last Sunday -- everything was shut down, yet the streets were very active with women and children, going off to Gospel Chapel for services. The men were hanging out at the hardware store, talking. Last night (Friday), was actually more quiet -- although the men were still hanging out at the hardware store, talking. The island is "dry" (no alcohol for sale anywhere), and, until recently, black people were forbidden to spend the night on the island. Indeed, when we arrived last night to pick up a mooring, at about 5pm, a large boat, filled with working class people of color was waiting at the dock. Just about sunset, the boat departed. At 7am, as I was gettin up, the boat arrived again, and the workers went off to their jobs. Makes for a long day ... I wonder what all they do here. Some were picked up in boats by locals and others walked off to local businesses.

The Abacos are different from other islands, being about 50/50 white and black. Overall, the pop'n is about 85% black. Here, the white have been around for generations -- probably longer than most of the black families, as the whites are from the Puritans who arrived in the early 1600s. Most of the blacks are descendended from escaped or fleeing slaves ... or more recent immigrants from Haiti or Jamaica. In fact, the Bahamas like to say that the Bahamian blacks are all middle and upper class, and that the black "workers" you see are illegal immigrants. Don't know how true it is, but it is an interesting example of class prejudice.

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